Renewed Commitment

The villainous attacks of September 11th and the subsequent chemical atrocities continue to threaten our national and personal bearings. They have unmasked faces of evil in our world. At the same time they have provoked action, and our prayers are with our government leaders for the decisions they must make: diplomatic, political, economic, decisions on humanitarian aid, and decisions on military force.

We have experienced a heightened sense of threat in our lives these days, but there are also very positive developments taking place. Unquestionably, we are witnessing a heightened sense of the treasure of life and a renewed appreciation for the value of prayer in our communities. The quest for meaning, for relationships of substance, and for constructive action is even more explicit. We have a renewed appreciation for the structures that make a difference.

When we speak about structures making a difference, we can't help but focus on our parishes. It is an opportune time to renew Stewardship in Faith. You recall that we conducted this program in all the parishes of our Diocese three years ago. Thanks to your generosity, we achieved inspiring commitments in time and talent from parishes throughout the eight counties. Amazingly, weekly parish income increased by an average of 27%.

At that time, over 20,000 volunteers came together to pray and work for the success of the program in their parishes. As a result, our parishes realized 24 million dollars in new monies. Hundreds of necessary projects were begun and completed, employee salaries were raised, and new ministries were organized.

We promised then that we would conduct an update in three years. So here we are, with even greater appreciation for our foundational entities. We officially kicked off the Stewardship in Faith program with the article in the October issue of the Western New York Catholic. I am pleased to report that every parish in the Diocese is participating in the program.

Obviously pastors will be exercising sensitivity in regard to those people who are not able because of various reasons to give as much as they would like, but it is very encouraging to know that 100% of our parishes are showing support for this vitally necessary program.

This week you will receive a letter from your pastor with more information about Stewardship in Faith and how you can further participate. The letter will describe the needs of the parish to be funded by your increased donations.

The weekend of November 3rd and 4th you will hear a special talk at all Masses that will speak directly about Stewardship in Faith.

Commitment Weekend is November 10th and 11th. As you decide the amount of your increase, I pray that you will consider seriously the needs of your parish and at the same time God's gifts to you, perhaps with a more acute appreciation because of the events in recent weeks.

Please remember that, as in the first Stewardship in Faith program three years ago, all monies raised will remain in the parish. Stronger parishes mean a stronger diocese, a stronger family of God.

Be assured once again of my deepest sentiments of gratitude for your abiding concern and effective generosity. May God continue to bless you and bless us all.

Most Rev. Henry J. Mansell
Bishop of Buffalo
November 1, 2001